Augustine Tse's cashmere company has been through a number of identities in the past few years as designers Hussein Chalayan and Richard Chai have passed though its doors. Fall marks the debut of Tess Giberson, a RISD graduate known for conceptual, hand-worked clothes. Her collection was aptly named Protection; it opened with a quilted wrap that suggested warm, embracing comfort and set the tone for much of what followed. The clothes looked invitingwho wouldn't want to be wrapped in a long, hand-knit cable cardigan, worn alluringly over a thin scoop-neck tank? Or how about keeping out the cold in the season's requisite shearling coat, shown here in white?
Giberson showed a number of short, sexy dresses, which were elegantly accessorized with TEM chain jewelry. Less successful were the loose stockingsseen at Prada last springwhich crinkled down into cherry-red patent shoes by Christian Louboutin. Throughout the show, there was a tension between the seductive (a knitted lace evening dress) and the safe (kilt-like side-pleated skirts). This suggested that Giberson hasn't entirely come to grips with this label's essential dilemma: Is it for a deep-pocketed customer seeking updates of classics, or the more fashion-forward woman? And certainly some will question whether she was progressive enough or has injected enough of her own sensibility into the designs. But there was no denying the craftsmanship. She was creative in pushing the boundaries of what can be done with cashmere; knitting it into puckers, cables, and lace, showing it superfine, even beadedbut always luxe.